Glasson Dock

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It’s hard to believe that today’s small, quiet and peaceful Glasson Dock was once the largest port in the North West of England (according to the Canal and River Trust website) and was used to import cotton, sugar, spices and slaves from the West Indies and Africa. It was opened in 1787 and is located at the head branch of the Lancaster Canal.

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I paid a visit with my parents recently. There is a large car park and, on the day, it was easy to find a space. It was a little confusing as the pay and display machine was blocked off and a notice said the car park would be run by a different operator. I assumed we didn’t have to pay. Oh well, if I was supposed to, I will soon find out I imagine!

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Unfortunately the pub we frequented last time was closed but there is another one five minutes away, across the swing bridge and past the Glasson Basin Lock on the West Quay. It is called The Dalton Arms, serving food and drinks. Sitting in a cosy corner, two of us had our tea while Guinness was the third refreshment chosen. The inn, like the port, also dates back to the 1700s.

Following refreshments, we embarked on a ramble along the canal, passing a few canal boats, two swans, several swallows flying overhead, a dog walker with two friendly cockapoodle canines and two middle-aged women clutching carrier bags, gathering blackberries. For jam or pies perhaps?

We also visited the Victorian Christ Church, built in 1840, which sits facing the canal.

Memorial plaques hanging on the walls give clues to its shipyard history. A customs house and shipyard were built in the village in 1834, focused more on repairing rather than building boats. In 1968, the shipyard was closed. The dry dock, which opened in 1841, was filled in 1969.

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The canal would have eventually taken us to the main branch of the Lancaster Canal where we could have headed to Preston or Lancaster.

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We didn’t go as far as that though, and after reaching a couple of bridges, we turned back, after a very pleasant and relaxing canal stroll.

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But the canal is only one picturesque part of Glasson Dock, the other side of the dock opens out to River Lune which, in the old days, would take ships out to sea. Not so much now.

Here, too, there are places to walk.

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The beauty of this hidden spot obviously makes it a welcome place for walkers and cyclists. The Bay Cycle Way, of which we saw signs, starts (or ends) at Glasson Dock and takes the cyclist on a 81-mile tour of Morecambe Bay up to the south coast of Cumbria. There is also the Lune Valley footpath, taking the walker up to Lancaster via splendid views across the estuary. One day I’ll do that. But today was just a very peaceful two or three-mile stroll in a beautiful yet uncrowded part of the world.

Glasson Dock – a haven of beauty and peace. Peace and beauty.

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One year on… After the hen party

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It’s hard for me to believe but Florence, Jemima and Dottie first came to Cosy Cottage more than a year ago, in August last year. Here’s a few highlights… And lowlights… of what happened over the year:

February – August 2017 – Building the coop

 

August 2017 – The girls arrive for the hen party!

 

September 2017 – Florence grows up

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December 2017 – The new gate equals Freedom!

 

February/March 2018 – ‘Beast from the East’ brings snow to Britain… And Cosy Cottage

 

June 2018 – A mouse in their house

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Summer 2018 – Broody girls and a hot summer

 

July 2018 – Dottie’s illness and recovery

 

Now… I hope to have many more months and years with these delightful ladies. They may be slow on the egg department but they are all charming and make me smile when I see them first thing in the morning. And mealworms make them smile!

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Sunshine bloggers award

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was absolutely delighted to be nominated for The Sunshine Bloggers Award (my first ever blog award!) by reducingoverload.com

The original post can be read here: https://reducingoverload.com/2018/08/20/sunshine-blogger-award/

It’s a very inspiring website which records a journey to a more fulfilling and less stressful life, featuring minimalism, frugality and healthy living. Sounds good to me! Go there for a lot of good tips 🙂

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

(I copied this from Reducing Overload)

‘It’s a peer-nominated award that helps showcase bloggers, specifically ones that have inspired other bloggers. It gives bloggers the opportunity to not only showcase their own blogs, but nominate other bloggers that have helped and inspired them, whether it be personally or through their content.’

The bloggers who I’m nominating have inspired, motivated, given tips on hobbies/interests/writing/life issues or have simply entertained me.

The Rules

There are several rules to the Sunshine Blogger Award. The rules ensure that the award continues to spread and more bloggers can be recognized.

The rules are:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to her/his blog.
2. Answer the questions the blogger asked you.
3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the award and give them 11 questions to answer.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger award logo in your post on your blog.

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The Answers

Here are the questions I was asked to answer.

#1: What is one of your favorite quotes?

There’s a number of quotes I like, but one I particularly relate to is Shakespeare’s ‘There’s more to heaven and earth than meets the eye’. I am open to the idea that there is something else out there beyond the material world and universe. It’s only a feeling I have but I find it very comforting.

#2: What chore do you hate doing?

Hoovering. It’s boring and such a faff getting the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard. I can’t even listen to music as it’s so loud.

#3: Why did you first start blogging?

I’ve always wanted to write a novel but it was more talk and no action. A blog was a good opportunity to motivate me to be more creative. Also I wrote an earlier blog a few years ago about my sabbatical from work which I enjoyed and, when I started hen keeping last year, I thought I could write about it as a sort of online learning journal. I do write about other topics too. I like learning in general and this helps me to remember what I have learnt.

#4: What is the best advice you were ever given?

Don’t worry about what other people think.

#5: If you could travel to any location in the world, where would it be and why?

Anywhere that’s peaceful and beautiful. Near me, the Lake District. Further afield, Alaska. Also the countryside of Scotland and Ireland. So much choice!

#6: What are 5 things that help you relax?

Reading, being around nature, tea, writing, a hot bath.

#7: If you could grant another person one wish, who would you choose and what would you do?

One of my closest friends has Crohns disease so I would wish her better health.

#8: What three things would you not want to live without?

My favourite people and pets, nature and books (tea a very close fourth!)

#9: What is your favorite book?

Jane Eyre. I read it as a 15-year-old and then at university. It has everything – drama, a historical backdrop, mystery, romance, a strong heroine… I identified with Jane and rather liked Mr Rochester at the time (I was in my gothic romance phase!)

#10: What has been your biggest challenge so far in blogging?

When I first started, it was worrying what other people will think.

#11: What goals do you hope to reach this year with your blog?

To continue to learn and write interesting (I hope!) posts.

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The Questions

My questions are:

1. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

2. What is your favourite place and why?

3. Do you have a role model, someone who inspires you in some way?

4. Do you have a favourite book or writer?

5. Do you have a favourite film?

6. What 3 things would you not want to live without?

7. Do you have a favourite animal? If so, what and why?

8. If you could live in a different era, which one would you choose?

9. What’s your favourite thing about writing a blog?

10. What advice would you give your younger self?

11. If you were granted 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

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I nominate (and there’s no obligation to accept, only if you will like to. It’s just a little way to say I enjoy your blogs):

1. https://brettesbliss.blog/

2. https://littlesilverhedgehog.com

3. https://lindaschaubblog.net

4. https://donteatitsoap.com

5. https://earthlybrain.com

6. https://historianruby.com

7. https://arousedblog.wordpress.com/

8. https://throughrosetintedglasses2017.wordpress.com

9. https://elizawaters.com

10. https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com

11. https://homesteadingwithaview.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Blogging – one year on

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It was about this time last year (September 12 to be precise) that I started writing this blog. It coincided with getting chickens – and then a week later, an ipad. So my journal about hens, gardens, nature, musings on life, self-sufficiency, curious places, treks, dreams and adventures came into being.

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On the journey, I’ve come across interesting bloggers and blogs, learnt about chickens (sometimes the hard way!), enjoyed walks and adventures and learnt to become more creative.

My main reason to write this blog was to finally get into writing, something I’ve been aiming to return to since a teenager. Writing a blog enables me to practise creativity and organisation. It also helps me learn about my interests, such as gardening and wildlife, and places I visit.

More than 40 posts have been written. Some I enjoyed more than others. My least favourite post to write was in recalling the building of the chicken coop, although not quite as bad the actual construction itself! The most pleasurable posts involved writing about the hens’ characters, imagining what would they say if they could speak in a ‘human’ language.

I still think of Jemima as posh, Dottie as bossy and Florence as optimistic and cheerful!

Some bloggers have many targets for figures, followers, hits, likes and comments. I am tempted but it’s so easy to get stressed over such things. I’m not in it for the money or the fame so as long as I enjoy writing this online journal and some people enjoy reading it, then all is well. ☺️

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So to mark Cosy Cottage’s first birthday, I thought I’d give a little plug to three blogs I have enjoyed reading.

Bookety Book

A blog written by a Book Club friend about the search for what makes a book truly great. The website is striking and well written and covers an array of book reviews and opinions. One for the bookworms.

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http://www.booketybook.com

Walkin’, Writin’, Wit and Whimsy

This is written by a woman, walker and nature lover who is ‘strolling around south east Michigan. Sending joy in the journey’. She says she started a walking regime in 2011 and decided to blog about her experiences to help her memorise people, places and things seen on her daily walks.

So there are lots of nature pictures and we get to know the various characters at the park such as Parker the cheeky squirrel. I like this blog for the feel-good factor it gives.

https://lindaschaubblog.net

And my third choice is:

An Historian About Town

It offers a great variety of subject matter – style, ballet, books, travel, baking… And I have also read some helpful articles about blogging here too. Yes, here is a stylish lifestyle website with both variety and content.

https://anhistorianabouttown.com

Thank you for reading Dreams and Adventures at Cosy Cottage!

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City of hope

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Guess where the seals are from? I’ll tell you later! 🙂

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City Hall, a grand building and convenient landmark. It stopped us getting lost many a time! 

Here’s a confession. I never wanted to visit Belfast in Northern Ireland. I had the chance in 2009 when my family and I went to Ballycastle for a week’s break (County Antrim is absolutely stunning). We could have gone to Belfast but we opted for Derry, Londonderry, Lovely-Derry (delete as appropriate to you). True, there were the Loyalist and Nationalist flags and murals but it seemed more in-the-past, more historical, less intimidating, and besides, Belfast is a much bigger city, so I was bound to be more apprehensive anyway.

I was mostly prejudiced by the news footage from the 20th century with the differing communities fighting amongst each other. All very scary and bloody.

To find out the reasons why, it’s necessary to look into the history of it all and then the reasons behind the violence and segregated communities starts to become clearer. But I don’t have the room to outline it all here and I’m no expert so this tale isn’t about The Troubles.

This is a story about Belfast Post-Troubles.

Twenty years since the peace process (the treaty was signed in 1998, yes, it is the 20th anniversary this year), it is possible to go on a hop-on hop-off bus into the staunch Loyalist and Republican areas – Falls Road and Shankill Road. The murals are now curious, interesting and, actually, some are rather artistic.

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Of course, they are still a stark reminder of the violence of that time. Some are still threatening to look at, portraying gunmen, but they’re not as intimidating as back before the peace process. I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to live here at that time. Amid the old-style ‘war murals’ (our tour guide said it was indeed like living in a civil war zone), more optimistic artwork is blossoming, such as this peace mural.

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Now, instead of shrill bangs and bombs going off, you get loud squeals of laughter from hen and stag parties. The array of olde worlde pubs in Belfast appear to be very popular too. Is Belfast now becoming the party capital of Northern Ireland (maybe even of Ireland, Britain and the whole of Europe)?! 🎉🎈🎉

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The shipbuilding industry is gone (although the Titanic remnants are still there, witness the ‘Samson and Goliath’ cranes with H and W proudly etched on. That’s Harland and Wolff, the makers of Titanic). You can learn more on the Titanic boat tour or the museum.

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Becoming a post-industrial city, like many others, especially in an internet age of shopping, has hit Belfast hard. There is graffiti and neglect, yet there are signs of hope.

For instance, the redevelopment of the docks, new non-sectarian artwork and modern shiny buildings, including the SSE Arena.

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I don’t doubt, looking at the peace wall still separating the two communities, there is still tension and mistrust.

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The last 20 years won’t wipe it out immediately. It will take time and patience. And when I was there, there appeared to be a political stalemate at Stormont, pictured below. Brexit – the UK voting to leave the EU, while Ireland remains in it – is an added complication.

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It would be much more than a shame if all the hard work over the years was thrown away. It’s my personal view that prosperity and peace go together, and that compromise, giving people a voice and listening to each point of view can go a long way towards making a happier place.

So now maybe you are thinking I had placed a picture of seals by mistake. What has a piece about a post-industrial city, still with scars from The Troubles, have to do with a colony of seals?

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But it was no mistake. They are real Belfast seals, having returned to the river after many years of shipbuilding had left it dirty, poisoned and polluted. The water was cleaned of the contamination and now fish and seals have come back.

To me, they are a sign of hope. If the seals can come back and thrive then, well, so can peace. 🙂

As an added P. S – Despite my initial prejudices, I enjoyed Belfast, it’s an interesting, vibrant and fun city. And even if you’re not a city-person, the countryside in Northern Ireland is absolutely beautiful.